Friday, November 28, 2014

2014 Panini Classics Baseball - The Dodger Base Cards

Panini America's newest Baseball card set was released last week, and it is called 2014 Panini Classics.  The set includes game-used relics, autographs and a 200-card base set filled with current and retired ballplayers.  Go here to check out a complete checklist.

There are 13 Dodgers in the base set; including several old-tyme Dodger greats.  Check them all out below.  I hope to have pics of all the Dodger relic and autographed cards next week.  Here is a list of parallel base cards that are available: Timeless Tributes Silver #/149, Timeless Tributes Gold #/25, Timeless Tributes Platinum 1/1.

Base Set

#4 Adrian Gonzalez                           #18 Burleigh Grimes

#29 Clayton Kershaw                              #35 Duke Snider

#60 Hanley Ramirez                            #65 Jackie Robinson

#86 Leo Durocher                                      #88 Carl Furillo

#106 Pee Wee Reese                             #119 Roy Campanella

#147 Yasiel Puig                                  #152 Alex Guerrero

#164 Erisbel Arruebarrena

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Blog Kiosk: 11/28/2014 - Dodger Links - Maury Wills and Puig's Nike Cameo

1956 was a banner year for Dodger pitchers, as evidenced in the International News press photo above that was found on eBay.  Featured is Don Drysdale with his Rookie of the Year award and Don Newcombe with his Cy Young and MVP awards.  They were given their awards on opening day at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn on April 18, 1957.  Go here to check out this photo on eBay.

Below are some links to check out:
"Commitment to and investment in the Los Angeles community is woven into the fabric of who we are," said LADF executive director Nichol Whiteman. "Our ability to support youth and families is a direct reflection of our ownership, players, coaches, front office and our fans, and we are proud to be able to make the holidays a bit brighter for many in need."
No one can take that away from Wills, who in 1962 had one of the most memorable seasons in Dodger history. He likes to call it happenstance. The year that Dodger Stadium opened, the Dodgers opened their minds to a new brand of baseball. The Dodgers finished their run at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in 1961. Wills reasons that since the screen in left field was only 251 feet away from home plate at the Coliseum, the Dodgers relied more on the longball and didn’t want to run the risk of making outs by attempting to steal. Thus, Wills stole 35 bases in 1961. The new Dodger Stadium freed him up to have a record-shattering 1962.
  • After just claiming off him of waivers earlier this month from the Padres, the Dodgers traded infielder Ryan Jackson for cash to the Royals the day before Thanksgiving, via Steve Adams at MLB Trade Rumors.  Pretty savvy, eh?  The Dodgers get him for nothing, then trade him for cash.
  • Yasiel Puig shares his little cameo in a new Nike commercial, as seen on his instagram.
A video posted by puigyasiel (@puigyasiel) on

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

I'd like to extend a happy Thanksgiving greeting to you and yours.

Happy Holiday Folks!

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Weekend Autograph Opportunities: Blue Friday at Dodger Stadium & Kershaw and Brown at the LA Auto Show

Here are this weekends autograph opportunities and events throughout the Southland. As always, be sure to check the Blue Heaven Calendar for other events (a link can always be found on the tab at the top of this page, just left of center), and always confirm with the establishment. Everything is subject to change.  Please email me with any tips about upcoming events in Southern California.  As the rest of the week progresses I'll update this post with other events (if there are any) as I become aware of them.  Also, I don't always list every event below, so be sure to check my Calendar.  I always try to favor free signing events over paying events.  Click on any pic to embiggen.


The Dodgers are hosting a Blue Friday sale at the Top of the Park store at Dodger Stadium this coming Friday, November 28th from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.  Go here for information.  Three Dodgers' will be on hand to sign free autographs for fans.
Justin Turner: 11am-1pm   
Al Ferrara: 1pm-3pm   
Tim Leary: 3pm-5pm

As you surely know, the LA Auto Show is taking place right now at the LA Convention Center in Downtown LA, and as usual there are a few special guest scheduled to make an appearance to meet fans.  Go here for a complete listing of special guest, and below are a couple of pertinent meet & greets.
Friday, November 28th - 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM
LA Kings Captain Dustin Brown
At the Toyota Live Stage in the Toyota display
The Kershaw event below is now not indicted at the LA Auto Show link, and I am uncertain if it has been cancelled.  Proceed at your own risk.
Sunday, November 30th - 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM
CY Moung and MVP Clayton Kershaw
At the Acura display

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Blog Kiosk: 11/26/2014 - Dodger Links - Gil Hodges, Jose DeLeon and "Dodger Day" in Oklahoma

This just might be the worst photo ever!  Above is Hanly Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval doing the 'I see you' sign, via Sandoval on instagram.

On a more positive note, Hanley thanked the fans on his facebook page. He says,
Thank you God for the blessing of allowing me to wear #Dodgerblue, where I learned how to be a winner, where I shared so many exciting and unforgettable moments with, and received so much love from my beloved #HanleyWood fans. Our 2 division championships in 2 years brought me some of the best times of my career, and I will be forever grateful for that. GRACIAS. @dodgers #donnieyourethebest
Thanks Hanley!  It was a pleasure watching play in Blue.

Below are some links to check out:
  • This is for Dodger fans in or near Oklahoma City.  The Dodgers new AAA minor league club will be hostin "Dodger Day" on December 3rd.  Go here for information.  Gabe Kapler and Scott Schebler will be there to sign for fans.
"With the team store being ready to re-open and with all the holiday excitement around Bricktown, we felt this was a great time to celebrate our new partnership with the Dodgers along with our great fans," said RedHawks President/General Manager Michael Byrnes.

The event will feature appearances by new Dodgers Director of Player Development Gabe Kapler and top Dodgers prospect Scott Schebler.
Hodges had enough votes to be elected by the Veterans Committee in 1993 (12 out of 16), only to have committee chair Ted Williams disallow the vote of Roy Campanella, one of Hodges' former teammates, because he did not attend the meeting in person. Campanella was hospitalized at the time. With that ballot rejected, Hodges and Leon Day were left one vote short of enshrinement, with 11 of the 15 votes leaving them at 73.3 percent, 1.7 percent shy. Campanella died three months later. Day was elected when the new committee met two years later.
“I want to golf with Kershaw,” he said. “I want to figure out how he can be so ice cold. Pitching, I think, is a lot like golf. It’s so repetitive, and you need to have a real good mental game. I’d like to see how he does in golf and get inside head.”
  • As you might have heard, Hanley Ramirez is expected to play left field for the Red Sox.  Former Dodger Pedro Guerrero provides his assessment of that transition on twitter:

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    Tuesday, November 25, 2014

    Jeff Hamilton's 1988 WS Trophy and Game-Worn Uniform at Worthridge Auctions

    Here is another auction house featuring player memorabilia from the Dodgers 1988 World Championship.  As you may remember, 1988 World Series Dodger reliever Jesse Orosco had his trophy up for auction at Heritage Auctions earlier this month.  BTW, that trophy sold for $9,560.00.  This time around, Dodger infielder Jeff Hamilton has both his trophy and game-used World Series uniform up for sale.  I wonder what it'll sell for.  Check them out below.

    Here is Hamilton's game-used 1988 World Series uniform.  It includes his jersey and pants.  As you can see, the jersey features the 1988 World Series patch on its right shoulder.  It has an opening bid of $600.

    (Auction Link)

    Take a look at Jeff Hamilton's 1988 World Series trophy.  I wonder if it'll eclipse the price for the Orosco trophy.  It has an opening price of $2,250.
    (Auction Link)

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    2014 Leaf Valiant Baseball - All the Dodger Cards

    Here's another prospect based Baseball card set to wet your whistle.  Last week Leaf released their 2014 Valiant Baseball card set and a couple of Dodger prospects are available in it.  Go here for a complete checklist.

    This set features colorful and shiny autographed-only cards of some of the best and most promising prospects in the Minors.  Available Dodgers include 2014 1st round draft pick Grant Holmes and promising infielder Darnell Sweeney.  There are also vintage 'buyback' Leaf cards that have been autographed and numbered to the players uniform number.  So far, I am only aware of the 1992 & 1991 Leaf Darryl Strawberry cards being available, but there may be more (a checklist has not been provided by Leaf).

    Base Autographs

    #BA-DS2 Darnell Sweeney                    #BA-GH1 Grant Holmes

    Out of this World Autographs

    #OW-GH1 Grant Holmes SSP

    BTW, although Strawberry wore #44 as a Dodger he signed only 18 of these cards for this set.  The #18 was the uniform number he wore during his eight years as a New York Met.

    Leaf Memories Buybacks

    1991 Leaf Darryl Strawberry (#/18)        1992 Leaf Darryl Strawberry (#/18)

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    Blog Kiosk: 11/25/2014 - Dodger Links - Editorializing the Dodgers

    Here is a fantastic ACME Press Photo, circa 1940, from high up in the rafters of Ebbets Field.  I ran into this on eBay.  Check out the auction here.

    On a side note, I am more than pleased with the current moves the Dodger front office is making.  They are measured, deliberate and necessary changes meant to provide depth in areas that are lacking with the club.  Not only that, several of the new Dodger players appear to have some upside that may translate well if given different roles.  No doubt they are gambles, but they appear to be worthwhile.

    In the past, the Dodgers tried going the veteran route - figuring their money would solve any problems.  They went after old horses with an easy to understand history, but they got burned.  Soon, fans and the press complained.  Now they are choosing to go a different route by trying to find a competitive advantage by taking some risk... And still you complain? 

    None of these recent moves are flashy or headline grabbing, and I don't think that the current leadership cares about any of that - and neither should you.  Heck, you never should have built up the expectation that the Dodgers were going to do something major to begin with.  They were never going to sign Russell Martin.  Hanley Ramirez was always going to be allowed to go elsewhere.  And you shouldn't expect the Dodgers to sign a Lester or trade for Cole. 

    What you should expect is some resolution to the outfield situation.  Someone or more will get traded, and I do not believe Kemp will be that man.  He has significant value (given his 2014 second half he would make a bundle in todays free agent market), and unless another team is willing to pony up he will remain in Blue.  Instead, we'll see a trade that includes cash and some minor prospects.

    We are in a new Dodger era - an era that does not include trying to be the Yankees of the West.  Instead, we are a Dodger franchise set on the intention of playing it smart.  We have the cash, the brains and now the will to make it all happen.  Don't sully that by giving yourself false expectations of the future.  What you want is not the same thing as what we need.

    Below are some links to check out:
    It’s quite possible they’ll live with the in-house options, giving Erisbel Arruebarrena (who will earn his $25 million by 2017 whether he’s in the big leagues or minors) first crack at it. Miguel Rojas will be standing by if he flounders. The Dodgers’ defense would improve significantly, but the offensive drop-off from Hanley to either of those guys would be vast.
    • Listen to the most recent episode of Dodger Talk with David Vassegh and Kevin Kennedy, here.  Dodger GM Farhan Zaidi joins them at about the 22:30 minute mark.  He mentions that one of their focuses will be to find under-the-radar tough-luck starters to convert into relievers.  I think this is the basis for the recent trades for Mike Bolsinger and Juan Nicasio.
    • Via Mike Petriello at Dodgers Digest, "Juan Nicasio, Fascinating Relief Project."
    Though Nicasio would be at the moment likely the team’s fifth starter behind Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-jin Ryu, and Dan Haren, I’m really not interested in him in that role, and I think we all know the Dodgers will move to add another starter. But as a reliever, a two-pitch guy who can touch 95 in short stints? Well, that’s fascinating, really, because I’ve long loved the idea of taking mediocre starters who don’t have a good enough third pitch or velocity to survive in the rotation and turning them into relief assets. I’m not suggesting that Nicasio will be Wade Davis, but you get the idea — it’s the exact same thing.
    • On Joe DiMaggio's 100th birthday check out this post by Paul Frazier at Picollecta about his life through collectibles. 
    • A Jackie Robinson Tribute from UCLA.

    Video Link:

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    Monday, November 24, 2014

    Welcome to the Blue, Juan Nicasio!

    The Dodgers brass continues to build up some depth in the bullpen; thereby addressing holes in the roster that proved fatal last season.  Via a tweet from the Dodgers, they trade for Rockies RHP Juan Nicasio in exchange for cash or PTBNL.

    Juan Nicasio had been a starter, but was converted to a reliever during the middle of the past season.  Via a Dodger press release:
    Nicasio, 28, was 6-6 with a 5.38 ERA 33 games (14 starts) for the Rockies last season, his fourth in the big leagues. During the second half of the season, Nicasio appeared exclusively out of the bullpen and posted a 3.48 ERA in 19 games, including a stretch in September when he allowed just one run in nine games (9.2 IP).

    The native of the Dominican Republic owns a career mark of 21-22 in 88 career games (69 starts), all with Colorado from 2011-14. In 2013, Nicasio established career highs in wins (9), starts (31), innings (157.2) and strikeouts (119). In his career at Dodger Stadium, the right-hander is 2-2 with a 3.63 ERA (14 ER/34.2 IP) and a .244 opponents' batting average in seven games (six starts).
    Nicasio throws primarily a hard fastball and slider.  Since becoming a reliever batters have hit just .227 against him; while seeing his strike out rate, walk rate, WHIP and FIP improve.  Via Steve Adams at MLB Trade Rumors:
    Nicasio has averaged about 93 mph on his heater throughout his career, and a look at his velocity chart (courtesy of Fangraphs) from 2014 shows that his fastball jumped to nearly 95 mph when pitching out of the ‘pen late in the season.
    BTW, Juan Nicasio has had some bad luck with injuries.  In  2011 Nicasio was struck in the head with a batted ball that almost took his life.  While pitching against Nationals, Ian Desmond hit a line drive that went straight for Nicasio's head and caused him to fall awkwardly.  As a result of losing his balance, he fell on the ground and fractured a vertebrae in his neck.  Then the following year, he twisted his knee while fielding a groundball that resulted in arthroscopic surgery.  He has been healthy since then.  Below is a video of Nicasio getting hit with the ball.

    Video Link:

    In celebration of Nicasio's arrival to the Dodgers I made the above fantasy card for him.  I used a photograph grabbed from a photo from Zimbio (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images North America) and the 1987 Topps Baseball card design.

    Below are the career stats for Juan Nicasio, via Baseball-Reference:

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    Campanella's Jacket and a Ladies 1955 WS Ring at Grey Flannel Auctions

    Grey Flannel is currently running their most recent auction and it includes a couple of Dodger items I wanted to share. 

    This first item is for the ladies.  Featured below is a 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers Ladies Championship ring.  It originally was owned by executive secretary Ann Speranzo.  She worked for the Dodgers traveling secretary Harold Parrot. 
    (Auction Link)

    I love this next item.  Here is an 1950's era Brooklyn Dodger jacket worn by Hall or Famer Roy Campanella.  Via the auction description:
    Accompanied by a LOA from when the jacket was originally obtained by our consignor in a 1986 charity auction held by the Dodgers 65 Roses Club and his winning invoice. We were told by our consignor that while bidding on this jacket in the 1986 charity auction, he was informed that it was consigned directly from the Campanella's and that it was worn in 1955 when the Dodgers won the World Series and Campanella won his third National League MVP award. Campanella is listed as an officer of the 65 Roses Club.
    The 65 Roses Club is a charity that supports donations to Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.  It is named the 65 Roses Club because children stricken with the disease find it much easier for them to pronounce that then the name of the disease.  In the past, the Dodger group would make donations to the foundation based on the number of home runs they hit and held an annual Dodger Family Fashion Show to support the cause.  I am unsure how active the group is today.
    (Auction Link)

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